Life in Bloomington

Fairfield County Girl Makes Good in the Midwest

Thursday, March 24, 2005


Chris's Roommate

When time allows, I plan to blog about Chris's surgeon and how amazing open heart surgery is...but for today, I will briefly blog about Chris's new roommate.

We are on a list to get a private room and I am here to tell you that it can't happen fast enough.

Today, Chris was transferred from the ICU to the regular cardiac nursing ward. This is supposed to be a good thing, but sadly, Chris has the unfortunate experience of having the worst roommate in the entire clinic. This guy, as it turns out, has been complained about by everyone who has been sorry enough to share his space. This roommate, because of HIPPA I can't use his real name so let's call him simply ASSHOLE, is a small mean wiry man. He enjoys really trashy awful TV and apparently he can only enjoy it if it is on FULL FUCKING VOLUME. Today, we were treated to hours of lowlife court TV...sort of like legal Jerry Springer. I had no idea that there were so many different such shows. Sadly, the nation's appetite for trash appears to be insatiable...but I digress.
Finally, I went to the nursing desk and asked if something could be done. The nurse went in and asked him to turn it down and it quickly became clear that we had a psycho on our hands. After two attempts by two different nurses to get the man to accept a slightly lower, but still rediculously loud, volume, we shouted over the curtain, "Never mind. Don't worry about it." After all, this guy can get out of bed and strangle Chris in the middle of the night. You can never really know what you are dealing with, sometimes until it is too late. We certainly don't want that. We want to get our money's worth on this surgery.

More later on this same blog channel.

Friday, March 18, 2005


A great view, for me anyway

Perhaps I have mentioned that our house has great views from every room on the first floor. In our master bedroom, there are huge windows facing the very private back yard and also facing the side yard. You can enjoy the views from not only the bedroom but from the master bath and the master closet/dressing room.

So, the other morning, I was going through my morning routine, at least the routine I do when I am either losing weight or at least not gaining weight. I get out of the shower and after drying off, I look in the mirror and try to convince myself that I am either losing weight, or, at least, not gaining weight. After a front view, I turn slightly, crane my head around and evaluate whether the size of my behind has changed since the previous viewing, which was probably the morning before. I know, this is all very rediculous. It is probably shocking to those of you who know me as the intellectual powerhouse that I pretend to be. You are thinking to yourselves, "Why, I am shocked! She seemed above this silly kind of vanity! And so gorgeous besides. Why would she even worry?" Ah, gentle and true readers! You flatter me with these thoughts. But, I felt that I must come clean and tell you about my real self, warts (figuratively of course...I certainly have no warts) and all. The real reason I tell this, is to lead up to what happened right after the daily check of my butt in the mirror. I looked into the master bedroom and Gasp! There they were, right outside the back window. The Landscaping Guys! There they were, removing the ornamental peach tree adjacent to our window. I gave a yelp, hiked up my towel and scampered into the dressing room and slammed the door. Did they see me? I didn't know.

I got dressed calmly, but I was a bit rattled. It wasn't that I minded them seeing me naked. I didn't care for it, but, hey, we are all naked beneath our clothes. I minded them seeing my forty-two year-old self checking out my forty-two year-old butt in the mirror with a contemplative look on my forty-two year-old face. I hated that this rediculous act might have been witnessed by two guys who were not only were going to be working here for a few more days doing major stuff but who would be coming back weekly to mow the lawn. Boy, did I feel silly. Did they see me? I will never know. But, when I said good morning to them that day, they avoided my eyes. Hmm.

Will update all tomorrow before we leave for Cleveland on Sunday. It is past eleven. Chris just arrived home from his last day at work for the next couple of months. Kate is home for the weekend and she and her dad are in the living room discussing Physics of the Heart, one of her courses this semester. I am going to bed to read some bestselling trash. Gotta keep a sense of humor going...

Monday, March 14, 2005


Oh! Is that flank pain?

Chris is still on second shift (3-10 PM_ and will be through Friday night. I pack him his dinner every day, and since food is one of the few ways I can think of to comfort him lately, I try to pack him a real dinner. Last night, I packed him vegetable lasagne with a side of roasted beets, drizzled in a dressing of flax seed oil (good for the heart)and rice vinegar. When he came home, he said that when he went to the bathroom mid evening, he looked down to see himself peeing red. A couple of moments of dread and panic ensued followed by some perceived discomfort in the kidney area. Chris thought to himself, "Is that flank pain I am feeling?" Ah, the power of suggestion! A few moments later, he realized that the red was probably from the beets. He went to the computer and typed in "Beets Urine" and sure enough, lots of entries popped up, assuring my husband that this was a common occurance. We laughed about the flank pain. It is so like Chris to think like that. No beets in the dinner tonight, you can be certain.

I am happy to report that for the most part, the Weight Watchers Punishing Point Diet has brought me back down to fighting weight. Today was not so great, though. I gave into stress eating and ate what I estimate to be a half a large bag of Ruffles. They were really good at first but after a time, they were just the object of compulsive consumption. I imagine that I will swell up like a baloon in my sleep tonight from all of the salt. I was going to pay good old Harry a visit tomorrow and have him give me a little buzz cut, but the ultra short look just doesn't work with a puffy face. It will have to be on Wednesday. It's tough to be a slave to beauty, but here I am. A slave to beauty.

I am sort of stumped for amusing stuff to write. It isn't that life is awful lately or anything like that. It is just that as the surgery date draws near, I am so preoccupied with getting everything into place here for Chris's sisters and taking care of Chris. I am finding it difficult to find the right words to say to Chris. I am good at finding the right things to say to lots of various people when they are going through stressful times. Or, at least I think I am. Okay, maybe I am an absolute boob, but why should I disillusion myself this week? I have enough to cope with. But, I digress. Anyway, like I was saying, I feel comfortable offering words and deeds to those in need, so to speak. But, when it is Chris, lots of things I say just sound so stupid, so obvious. Maybe it's because I know him so well and I know that while I am saying anything, he already knows it. Hmm, maybe with people I don't know as well as I know my husband, my words are just as stupid and obvious, but I don't see it. They are probably to polite to let on. Huh. I think that I will steer clear of the suffering for awhile until I figure this out. I don't want to have to add "Boob" to the experience section of my resume. Boob. What a funny word.

I don't know if I mentioned our musical experiences last week. If I did, ignore this and read the next paragraph. It is another one of my blog advertisements for how great this town is. On Thursday, we went to a jazz concert at a bar called Bear's Place. It is a weekly show called "Jazz Fables" and it starts at 5:30 and goes until 8 PM. They have cozy little booths and you can order dinner and drinks (bar food quality, medium yummy) and watch great musicians close up. Every week they have a different group and they are all excellent. Five minutes from our house. Convenient, cheap, excellent entertainment. Jazz is big in this town. On Saturday morning, Chris and I took Jack to a little live broadcast from the Waldron (a performance and art center in town) that happens weekly at 11AM. It is called Saturday's Child and it is aired on Bloomington's very own, all volunteer comunity radio station, WFHB. They have different "old time music" groups every week and they serve coffee and bagels free. It was really great music. Bloomington is full of these little gems. If you like music, this is an amazing place to be.

In other areas, the IU Hoosiers got killed in the Big Ten tournament. I am shocked to report that I actually cared. This from a girl who during her first IU basketball game had to ask her husband how many periods there were in the game.

I am happy to report that our little terrified Jack has mastered his bike and is now speeding (I use that term rather loosely) up and down the driveway without assistance yelling, "Look at me! Look at how fast I am going!" It is a joy. I am shown again and again if I just have a little patience with his abject terror of physical risk, he can move beyond it a bit and try new things. In his last life, something terribly tragic must have happened to him physcially to have scared him so. Sometimes I imagine him as a starving mute in his last life...he is busy making up for both conditions in this life. He is only quiet when eating or sleeping. Wonder where he got that.

Friday, March 11, 2005

It is Friday night at about 8:30 and now that I am done putting Jack to bed, mopping the kitchen floor, cleaning the kitchen and the laundry room sinks and folding some laundry, I can sit down with a cup of herbal tea and write to my loyal readers. No, no...please don't be sad that I have to toil so. Just think of me as rather heroic and long suffering. That will do just fine.

Chris is on what we call the goofy shift for the next seven straight days. He is working from 3:00 in the afternoon until 10:00 at night. Several of the other wives complain when their husband is on this shift, but I don't mind it. I like having Chris here in the early day and I also like not feeling like I have to make a real dinner. Plus, I think that it is probably good for Chris to be occupied in the evenings this week as we are heading into our trip to Clevland.
I think that he has been on the internet reading way too much about his upcoming surgery.

In one way, it is a real benefit that Chris is a doctor going through this. There are a few decisions that have to be made regarding what kind of surgery he is going to have, and because he can comprehend real medical articles on the subject, he can make a very informed decision. Chris has to decide whether to just have his valve worked on or whether to have (in addition to the valve)this relatively new (I think) procedure done that will prevent future episodes of atrial fib. The latter is more invasive and so involves more risk, more recovery time/ get the picture. Chris will be able to base his decision on a technical discussion with the surgeon. That's great. On the other hand, it isn't so great that Chris is a doctor because he can't just take in the top line that the risks are minimal and the prognosis just about as good as for a normal person and say "Geez,my doctor says when this is all over, I will be as good as new, or even better. It must be true." It just ain't possible when you have read all the fine print.

Chris is a worrier by nature and I am not, for the most part. I guess I could be more worried about this surgery, but I either am so well adjusted that I realise that it is entirely out of my hands anyway or I am so scared to death that I can't even look at it. To face facts, things could go terribly wrong. They do for some people. To be fair, they go horribly wrong for a super small percentage of folks, but still. Someone has to be that person, right? But, I just am not one to romance that kind of thinking. At least not yet. Let's see how I am when they are wheeling Chris down the long hall on the gurney...

In some lighter news, Jack has recently gotten up the courage to get on the new bike that he got for Christmas. He had a tricycle and was pretty happy with it. But he looked like whats-his-name on Laugh-In. The bike was just too small for him. This new one is a two wheeler with the kind of training wheels that don't both touch the ground at the same time. The result is that the bike is wobbly and the goal is that the kid learns how to balance on two wheels. Well, Jack is scared %$#!-less. He has to have Chris hold onto him to balance him while he creeps down the driveway at a barely perceptible pace. Poor kid is so terrified. But, at least he is trying. While he soldiers through his terror with clenched teeth and white knuckles, he says over and over ,"OOH, Daddy, I am a little concerned about this." He has such a wacky way with words.

Well, I am off to watch old Sex in the City episodes.

Thursday, March 03, 2005


Stress And The Family

A mom of a schoolmate of Jack, Julie, recently asked me to be on a panel in an IU class called "Stress and the Family". (I guess I wouldn't be asked to be on the "Sex and the City" panel...alas.) Julie teaches the class and was planning a discussion on divorce and blended families. I agreed to participate because I love to hear myself talk and because I am sure that the gems of wisdom dripping off my tongue are essential to all young women everywhere. Mostly, I agreed because Julie is interesting and nice and because I thought it would be interesting to hear other people's stories. And, because I love to hear myself talk.

It was pretty interesting. All of the women except for me had been divorced at least once. Two were married three times, the third being the charm. Julie is just getting out of her third marriage and has three children, one from each marriage. The most compelling story was Cathy's. Cathy was married at 18 because she had gotten pregnant as a senior in highschool. She had twins. The marriage lasted fifteen years during which Cathy was beaten and held at gunpoint...etc. Awful stuff. She finally got out of it and got some help and married a wonderful man and is now graduating from IU this spring at (I estimate) age 50 or so. She is beautiful and strong and such a beacon of hope. I was floored by her story and by her new life. Like a phoenix. Wow.

Many of the students asked questions about how to see if a marriage was going to work or not before you could see that they were looking for the magic clue that would ensure them a happy divorce free future. Boy, am I glad that I am not in their shoes. I just wouldn't want to be dating again. I was so lucky to marry Chris. I think that at least half of what keeps marriages together is in fact luck. The other half is committment. The luck part is that you will continue to like each other enough to want to stay committed. I feel pretty lucky. I am sure Chris feels lucky too because I tell him all the time how lucky he is.

Chris is on the kidney stone website now reading way too much about, well, kidney stones. Poor guy. Better not to know. My mother might be right after all. At age 70, the woman has never had a mamogram. And with breasts as large as hers (I am adopted, remember) a lump could go undetected for years and years. Her philosophy is "what you don't know won't hurt you." I am supposed to get all my bloodwork done for my annual physical and I have decided to wait until Chris is recovered from all of this. Someone has to hold down the fort, right?

Well, I am off to bed to read this new book on time as a fourth dimension, or at least that is what I think it is about. I started the Poisonwood Bible but it was just too grim for me. I knew that tragedy was the only outcome of the story and just didn't want to hear about it. Only happy fiction for me right now.

This weekend is the last IU home basketball game and I am shocked to say that I am a bit sad about it. I have really enjoyed going to them. I sing the IU fight song for hours after the games. Who knew?

Wednesday, March 02, 2005


I Just Never Thought I Would Have Kidney Stones

Alert the media! Jack went back to school today! I actually had some free time and got to work out and get some errands done. One said errand was to drop off some documents at our new estate attorney's office. It is a drag, but we are getting all of our affairs in order in case something untoward happens in Cleveland. Chance favors the prudent so we should be just fine.

Today Jack wanted to make candy apples for some reason. Being the obliging mother I am, we made two of them. The coating was so hard that my sharpest kitchen knife wouldn't cut through it. Jack pretended to enjoy gnawing at it, but it took only a few minutes for both apples to hit the garbage. So much for that.

Chris found out today that he has kidney stones. He said, "I just never thought I would have kidney stones." Does anyone think that they will? He had a routine physical - I am starting to think that these are never a good idea - and one test result lead to another and voila! Kidney Stones! Poor guy. I think that he still plans to go forward with the surgery as planned, but ever the doctor, he has weighed all the possible outcomes (not the actual outcome of the stones and will worry about them as is his nature. According to Chris, they see a lot of kidney stone cases here and he wonders if it is from the water here. (LOTS of limestone around). So, now we are drinking spring water from out of state, just in case. In addition to that thrilling lifestyle change, we have eliminated caffeine from the morning coffee (bad for a-fib) and (GASP!) alcohol (bad for a-fib) from the evening meal. Needless to say, there is no more cocktail hour. I don't have to make these changes of course, but I am trying to be a supportive spouse. Plus, I know that it is healthy to do this. Not permanently, of course. A girl's gotta have something to look forward to! But for now until the surgery. I think that I miss the caffeine more than the alcohol. Yeah, I know. That shocked me too.

Not much else to report. It feels as if we are in a holding pattern until after this is all over. I watch Chris processing these changes and I realize that there is so little that I can say or do to comfort him. So I do what I do. Cook. He has had a string of incredible meals and packed lunches. It might be a small thing, but this is a guy who loves to eat. There are other things I do for him as well, but I won't mention them as I am trying to keep my blog PG rated.

In closing I will report that Jack said that I had a big butt today. I sent him to his room.

Tuesday, March 01, 2005


The Date is Set

Where to start? Well, the topic of the moment, okay, the topic of almost every moment, is Chris's upcoming surgery. Now that the date is set, it seems so much more real. Chris and I will leave for Cleveland on Sunday March 20. On Monday, he has all his pre-op stuff. On Tuesday or Wednesday, depending on how Monday goes and how the surgeon's schedule is, Chris will have surgery. Then, he will be in ICU for one to three days. His hospital stay will be five to seven days. Chris's sister Lynn and her son Lukas (8) will stay with Jack for the first part of the week. Then, Chris's sister Susan will come to take care of Jack. Chris's parents will be with us in Cleveland. I will probably come back to Bloomington after a week to be with Jack and Chris's parents will stay a few extra days in Cleveland with Chris and then bring him back. It is a big deal. We are lucky that Chris has a supportive family and a competent family too. You can really rely on them.

I just don't have much amusing or entertaining to write about right now. It isn't that we are without a sense of humor here lately or that we aren't having a good time. I just find myself a bit distracted at the moment by Jack's screaming MOMMY! COME HERE THIS MINUTE! MY UNDERWEAR ARE BACKWARDS AGAIN! Poor kid just can't get things on with the tag in back.

More later on this same bat channel.


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